College costs

Realistically, most teenagers are not getting their college or university paid for by their guardians, although most financial and private aid is partially, if not fully, based on their guardians’ income.


Not many parents or guardians have made the decision to assist their child in paying for tuition, yet Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and most scholarships, require that the student include their guardians’ average income in the submission. According to, “the federal student aid programs are based on the concept that it’s primarily your and your family’s responsibility to pay for your education.” This means that it is expected that the parents of the child applying should be contributing a certain amount, if not all, of the tuition for the child. 

When students apply for federal aid, they file as being dependent on their parents, meaning that they are completely reliant on them, including financially. What this does not take into account, is how many kids are actually not going to continue to be financially dependent on their parents well into the future beyond high school, whether that be refusing to pay for their tuition, or simply stopping to pay for their phone bill. 

Although students can apply for grants after being in school for their first year, or even their first semester, it could not come near the amount of money that they could have earned before fully enrolling. When applying after enrollment, one could apply as independent, as long as they are not mainly benefitting off their parents income. Applying as an independent, as long as they make less than their parents, can lead to better financial aid, and larger grants for the student. Scholarships typically require the income of the student’s guardians, but it is not always taken into consideration for whether or not the student wins it. 

There are scholarships for nearly everything, anywhere from being vegan, to being tall, to simply having above a 3.5 GPA. These scholarships, although they do not directly take a students guardians income into account, may still request that it is given. Whether this is for national statistics, or because they do actually take this into account, is unknown. The process of applying for financial aid seems to be a lot more complicated than what the public knows. What does and does not go into account when deciding who gets a scholarship and who gets Federal Financial Aid, is far beyond what most people would know, or even bother to find out. 

Overall, basing Financial Aid off what a student’s guardians make, is only going to skew results for who should and should not have aid. FAFSA should base how much financial aid a student is getting on how much income they have, but only if that income comes from who is paying for their tuition. Meaning, that if a student is entirely reliant on themself for paying tuition, their financial aid should be based on the students income, whereas, a student who is getting theirs paid by their parents, should have their aid be based on their parents income. Otherwise, there are students whose parents make a relatively decent amount, but who are refusing to help the student with tuition completely, get no financial aid.